A Pleasant Surprise at Dev8D

Two years ago in 2010 I wrote a blog post in response to a post written by MShaw “Dev8D: where were the women? which commented on the fact that only 7% of the event’s participants were female. I hadn’t gone to Dev8D that year but I felt compelled to comment as this echoed concerns I had with a previous CRIG Repositories Unconference where only three out of the forty delegates where female.

This year I decided I would go to Dev8D, although due to childcare responsibilities I was only able to attend for a single day, rather than the full three days. However I must say that I found it well worth the trip. I was pleasantly surprised to find a friendly and inclusive event with a relatively large number of female delegates. I am no more of a technical developer now than I was two years ago, but at no point did I feel that the event was cliquey or exclusive, despite that fact that UCL Union was packed full of the highest concentration of geeks that I have seen for quite some time.

Mahendra Mahey, who is responsible for running Dev8D and for making it the success it is, commented that he had tried to take possessive steps to encourage more female developers to attend DevCSI events. It appears that Mahendra’s efforts have paid off, as approximately 17% of this year’s delegates were female. This may not seem like a particularly impressive percentage but when one considers that this is actually higher than the annual percentage of female Computer Science graduates then I think that is quite an achievement!

It was also noticeable that many of the Dev8D participants appeared to have a real interest in educational technology issues. JISC’s Andy McGregor commented that educational technology developers were much better represented than in previous years. Certainly JISC’s Amber Thomas and I gathered lots of valuable comments and feedback during our very informal Digital Infrastructure Directions for Educational Content blether round table. Hopefully this bodes well for the forthcoming DevEd event that JISC, CETIS and DevCSI are running on the 29th / 30th May in Birmingham. Watch this space for more news!

All in all I thought Dev8D was an interesting and enjoyable event with plenty of opportunities, even for a day delegate, to have lots of thought provoking conversations and discussions. I think I’ll be going again next year :)

One thought on “A Pleasant Surprise at Dev8D

  1. Sounds great Lorna. I hope Mahendra writes a blog post at some point about what steps he took to encourage greater female participation. I’m sure other conference organisers would find it helpful! I know oftentimes people have good intentions but don’t quite know what to do. Keeping this conversation going is vital.

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